Honda, in addition to automobiles, already manufactures solar panels and industrial robotics but the Japanese company has just announced its plans to invest a jaw-dropping $45 billion in flying cars, rockets and robots over the next decade.
Major car manufacturers are starting to invest in eVTOLs
They are popularly called flying cars, but their technical name is eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing). These are vehicles focused on intercity journeys with the capacity to move through the sky and land and take off vertically.
Large investments are being made by such firms as Airbus, Uber, Porsche, and Toyota in these flying cars, yet the various nations’ regulations do not define what area they will be able to operate in.
In Japan, work is already underway on a strategy that will have “flying cars” able to transport goods by 2023, with the aim of introducing them to passengers in the latter part of the decade. Toyota and Honda are promoting these eVTOLs with the aim of improving mobility in densely populated cities.
Honda is planning to invest $45 billion in flying cars
Over the next six years, Honda will invest almost $45 billion in developing these technologies as part of a boost to its R&D department.
Honda describes that these eVTOLs could be used as part of an urban cab service. Unlike other companies, Honda describes that it plans to go for a hybrid solution rather than using only lithium-ion batteries.
The company will combine the electric motor with gas turbines in order to achieve a range of up to 400 kilometers, fully electric cars today have much less range.
The timetable envisaged by Honda is to specify what this cab service would look like by 2025. The company aims for a commercial launch date in 2030.
The so-called “Avatar” robot is also a part of the investment
In addition to the commitment to eVTOLs, Honda’s plans also include manufacturing robots. The company calls them Avatar robots and it will be possible to interact with them remotely. According to Honda, this will allow people to live where they choose without constraints of workplace obligations.
Honda will also invest in rocket technology, to be able to launch satellites into low orbit. In June, the company partnered with the Japanese Aerospace Agency (JAXA) for the development of a reusable power system in space.